India

Indian media: Debate over Delhi gang rape sentence

Image caption Protesters are angry over Saturday's verdict

Media in India are debating whether punishment given to a teenager found guilty in last December's fatal gang rape on a Delhi bus was fair.

The teenager, who cannot be named, has been sentenced to three years in a reform facility, the maximum term possible for a juvenile.

He was convicted for rape and murder over the crime, committed when he was 17.

Many in India have been demanding that the teenager be tried as an adult and given the death sentence because of the gravity of his crime.

"Sentencing one of the accused in the gang rape, a juvenile during the crime, to just three years in a juvenile centre is a travesty of justice," The Times of India, in an editorial, says.

The paper adds that "the law must urgently rework this decision. An individual must be tried for the severity of the crime he is accused of".

"A great opportunity to show that India is ready to toughen up and treat criminals as they should be has been lost. The national outrage felt over the rape is now a wasted emotion," The Asian Age says in an editorial.

Activist Sunitha Krishnan called the verdict "a complete mockery of all the pain and agony suffered by the victim".

Others, however, feel the law has taken its course and the teenager has a right to "correct himself".

"We cannot take away the one chance that he has of correcting himself and leading a normal life," child rights activist V Padmavathi told the Deccan Chronicle.

Meanwhile, spiritual guru Asaram Bapu has been arrested for questioning over an alleged sexual assault on a 16-year-old girl.

Police say the guru has tested positive in a "potency test," contrary to his claims of being impotent and hence incapable of committing such a crime, The Times of India reports.

Moving on to financial news, newspapers feel that last quarter's poor GDP figures highlight the failure of the government's economic policies.

"The GDP growth figure of 4.4% for April-June 2013 has added to the prevailing sense of gloom about the Indian economy… There is little doubt that policy decisions, or rather the lack of them, have hit India's economy," says The Indian Express.

Staying with the economy, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily has urged the government to increase oil imports from Iran despite US sanctions against the Islamic Republic, The Times of India reports.

Mr Moily feels oil imports from Iran will come cheaper compared to other countries because Delhi pays Tehran in rupees and not dollars.

'Protest concert' in Kashmir

In Indian-administered Kashmir, a civil society group has planned a parallel "protest concert" against an upcoming performance by noted musician Zubin Mehta, the Hindustan Times reports.

"There will be a huge presence of foreign media, so this is the best way to show them what is happening in Kashmir," the paper quoted convener of the group, Khurram Pervaz, as saying.

In some news for food lovers, the country's top regulator feels street food is healthy but warns that hygiene issues still exist, The Tribune reports.

"Street food has been found to be extremely nutritious. The only concern is about hygiene on which we are working with state governments," the head of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Pradip Chakravarty, said.

In some disappointing news for hockey fans, the Indian team lost 3-4 against South Korea in Asia cup finals on Sunday, reports The Times of India.

Meanwhile, papers are reporting that cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar may announce his retirement after playing his 200th Test match at home against the West Indies later this year.

India are due to play an away series in South Africa in late November, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India is now trying to fit in a series against the West Indies in October, The Times of India reports.

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